Is the “Family Owned” Sign in Front of Your Business Actually a WARNING?


My sister likes jewelry, so I went shopping at a gemstone store recently.  Trust me on this.  The fact that this business is family owned was NOT a benefit to me as a customer.  The jewelry designer’s mother is clearly tired of catering to his demands.  But she is his mother and apparently feels STUCK there. His wife was equally miserable!  Apparently the purpose of this family owned business isn’t about gemstones, customers, money, or family.  It was all about a prima donna jewelry designer who had enslaved his relatives.

I know another company President who insists on paying all 7 of his offspring the same salaries despite the fact that one son is the full time CFO and one daughter is a part time marketing clerk. Can you imagine how non family staff members feel and how they view their compensation?

I know a Mid-Atlantic based company that has a Colorado branch now. They were sending so much money to support his snowboarding, why not throw a bit more money at it?

Sometimes the real purpose of being “family owned” is to provide jobs for otherwise unemployable offspring.

As the New Year starts, pause for a second and reflect on the BIG decisions made by your family owned business in 2010. Which ones were made to compensate for non-performing relatives? Which decisions were an attempt to force accountability and fairness?

If the purpose of your being “family owned” translates into honesty, excellent customer service, informed employees who truly understand products/services, a sustained commitment to quality and innovation, etc…then the public will care that you are “family owned.”

90% of privately held companies view themselves as “family” businesses. So this year, I’ll be emphasizing growth strategies for family owned businesses and sharing ways to make sure that “family owned” is an attribute…and not a warning.

About Aldonna Ambler:
Aldonna R. Ambler, CMC, CSP has earned the right to be called The Growth Strategist®. She built a suite of companies that help privately held mid-sized companies in Achieving Accelerated Growth With Sustained Profitability® through opportunity and resource analysis, strategic planning, executive advisory services, growth financing and targeted search. She provides 40-50 strategic and keynote presentations each year and has done so for 30+ years. A multi-award winning entrepreneur, online talk show host and highly esteemed economic development advocate, Ambler continues to broaden her participation on corporate boards and serve as a growth financing intermediary for mid-sized businesses ($20-$200 million in revenue).

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Over the 21 years that I’ve been in business, I’ve worked with several individuals and organizations that professed to have the skills, knowledge, and insight that would make my business strive. None performed like or better than Aldonna Ambler.

Greg Williams
The Master Negotiator

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